OK, so I got a pretty good response when I talked about SEO and social media the other day. Which led me to ponder…
What do you really know about search engine optimization or SEO? I mean really.
Which led me to the somewhat warped conclusion that after discussing it briefly… I feel we should discuss it some more. You know, to drive it all home and make sure it’s embedded in that sweet little brain of yours.
But before we begin, let me say first that I don’t claim to be an expert in SEO. Capisce? The techie hullaballoo, quite frankly, isn’t my thang, and programming scripts and codes… just ick.
Holds zero appeal. I mean like ZERO. Get it?
However, this all begs the question, should you—we—even care about SEO at all?
The short answer is-
Of course you (I mean WE) should! You need an effective SEO strategy if you want to succeed—and by succeed I mean be popular, rich and famous or heck, just be a sensation!—on the Internet. Oh wait… sorry, projecting again.
You might have a different definition of success. (Mine’s better though!)
But c’mon… do you really need to know all that techie mumbo jumbo?
Not necessarily. Not even.
There are lots of blog providers and social media sites that are search engine optimized—or, at the very least, that provide features to help you optimize your profile or page. An example of this feature might be a special box where you can put in a description, such as a description of your site or business, which engines can then search through for relevant keywords.
Technical knowledge in SEO is good to know—but you don’t need to be an expert to effectively optimize your site. Ha… not by a long shot!
So that said, how do you effectively optimize your page?
Don’t rush me! Sheesh.
Just keep a readin’ my impatient friend… all will be revealed.
Just about any SEO enthusiast or expert I know will tell you that the foundation of an effective SEO strategy lies in three things:
- Page architecture, which is the overall design and layout of your site.
- Keyword-laden text, otherwise disgustedly known today as keyword stuffing. Yuck.
- Link development, which is nothing more than having other websites link to your page.
Sure, ensuring that you have well-developed page architecture, keyword-rich content and other websites linking to you will help you get a decent Google ranking. No doubt.
But is this what you should strive for? I mean seriously, let’s not confuse the means with the end.
The goal of SEO is to get you on top of Google’s search rankings so that people will always land on your site for the search terms they’re looking for.
But is that your true end goal?
Merely to gain a lot of search visitors? Really, at least for me anyway, the true goal of SEO is simply a bridge to achieve my own personal goals for my site. The deep down inside essence of why I started my blog in the first place.
For me those goals started as a way to showcase my writing (I’m a freelance ghostwriter), build a readership, and then morphed into total blogger domination! We’re talking visions of fame and fortune, bottomless wells of cash, and eager and loyal fans ready to kiss the ground I walk on.
Hmmm… overkill? Fiiinnnee.
What’s your goal, then?
Of course, you probably want your site to get as much traffic as possible. That’s like one of the main reasons anyone wants to be on top of the search engine rankings in the first place. I get it already!
But is that really all you want?
Think about it. Beyond constant traffic, wouldn’t you rather have a pool of loyal followers who will constantly visit your site, day after day, week after week, and month after month?
Readers who enjoy your crazy meandering flights of fancy? People who love to read your sh%# and share it with the rest of the world and hey… maybe they even learn a thing or two?
Isn’t that what your goal should be? Or at least look a little something like it?
Shh! I’ll answer for you.
“Why, of course it should be!”
You want people to visit and enjoy your site—and you want them to keep coming back for more. Ultimately, that’s what you want. (Just go with me here, I know you better than you know you!)
Which leads back to how to do this with SEO… and my answer is…
It’s all about content! Seriously, that’s what really counts. That’s the ONLY thing that counts. And if you’re thinking of arguing with me, you really need to change your mindset on what an effective SEO strategy is and start making it about content—good, solid and relevant content. Engaging and compelling content. Freakin’ interesting content!
And once you’ve got the content down, focus on some of that other more techie stuff. Beyond page architecture, what’s important is to define the user experience. Make it easy and fun for people to navigate through your site. Keep it all nicely organized and user-friendly, because some folks are spastic and won’t stick around if they get confused.
The layout should make sense.
No, it doesn’t have to resemble every other Tom, Dick, and Harry’s blog, but it does need to be organized and hold some appeal.
You also need to change your attitude about keyword stuffing. Keywords don’t bring in a loyal following; good content does. Too many weird keywords and madcap long tails ruin good content; it makes everything appear cluttered and muddled and leaves your reader going “Huh? WTFrack?”
Really it does!
What’s truly important is to speak the language of your people—these are the only keywords you need to concern yourself with. It’s called communication 101: know what they’re sayin’ and how they say it. Communicate with your followers using their language.
Don’t spam your link—that is, indiscriminately post links to your site anywhere and everywhere you can find space for it.
It’s tacky and it’s desperate.
And just a little psychotic. Remember that Einstein’s definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Spamming your link all over the ‘net doesn’t work. Never does.
Providing relevant useful commentary and being a contributing member of a community does however and pays dividends that will astound you.
Really, please hear me on this one. I’ve seen too many blogs and forum threads vandalized by promotion links. Put simply, there are better ways of promoting your site.
And the best way? At least in my admittedly short on experience but fat and full of knowledge (absorbed by osmosis!) little book… let your followers re-tweet or publish your links on their own to their peers. It’s like word of mouth, only online… and the absolute BEST form of advertising. Ever. Like ever, ever. And ever. And ever, ever? (OK, it’s late, I’m slap-happy… so sue me.)
And they will only do this if you have really great content.
Just say right. 😉